- cooperative of 22 small-scale winegrowers in Chile
- makes its voice heard in the international debate on (fair) trade
- has supplied Oxfam directly with red and white wine for over 20 years
« There were six of us at home and we occasionally went without food. What did we know of the world? If the boss spoke to us, we would answer with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without looking up. Fair trade and Oxfam taught us to think for ourselves. »
— Clorindo, Sagrada Familia
Benefiting winegrowers in Chile
In one of Chile’s most famous wine regions, Valle de Curicó, lies the small village of Sagrada Familia. The cooperative of the same name unites 21 winegrowers who now sell their fair-trade wine collectively. Thanks to their collaboration with fair-trade clients across the world, the cooperative can pay its producers a good price for their wine grapes.
Sagrada Familia has been a reliable partner of Oxfam-Wereldwinkels (info in Dutch) ever since the cooperative’s founding in 1997. It is thanks to successful partnerships like this, and the fine teamwork of the cooperative’s members, that the disadvantaged winegrowers were able to take giant leaps forward. In fact, the whole community quickly experienced the benefits of fair trade. For years, Sagrada Familia has served as a model for other farmers in the region.
Fair trade: more than an economic success story
The cooperative Sagrada Familia helps its winegrowers to earn a living wage through the production of quality wines.
They also avail of the fair trade premium (info in Dutch) to lend them support in a number of ways:
- Basic needs such as health care and higher education are largely privatised in Chile and thus expensive. Sagrada Familia helps members with financial difficulties.
- The cooperative keeps a ‘solidarity fund’ that can be used in the event of frost or water damage. This fund was also used to help members in need following the severe earthquake in 2010.
- The farmers buy agricultural products together, receiving better prices by buying in large quantities.
But Sagrada Familia goes beyond the economic aspects of the business. The cooperative also values the exchange of knowledge among the producers. And it regularly organises informal, socio-cultural activities for its members. This promotes a sense of group solidarity.
Giving small-scale farmers a voice
Sagrada Familia is also committed to the interests of small-scale agricultural producers beyond its own cooperative. Both in Chile as well as internationally, this small cooperative plays a prominent role as part of the fair trade movement.
ProChile recognised this by awarding them the ‘prize for valued export company for small-scale producers’. And at the annual general meeting of the CLAC (the network of fair trade producers in Latin America), Sagrada Familia received explicit acknowledgement for its efforts in putting fair trade on the (world) map.
Great wines from a small, fair-trade cooperative
As a small cooperative, Sagrada Familia is not able to process its own grapes to produce wine. Instead it has had to form strategic alliances with a winery and a bottling plant.
Oxfam supports the cooperative in the improvement of its own wine knowledge and in its continued improvements in quality. To this end, the cooperative has invested in stainless steel wine vats and in oak casks for its (gran) reserva wines.
The vineyards of two Sagrada Familia members are already certified organic. They supply the grapes for Oxfam Fair Trade’s Lautaro organic wines (info in Dutch). Sagrada Familia is looking to make further inroads into organic cultivation. Needless to say, with ambitions like these it has a trusty ally in Oxfam.
Sagrada Familia & Oxfam
- Oxfam Fair Trade and Sagrada Familia already crossed paths in 1997 (info in Dutch). In Chile after the fall of Pinochet, the newly founded Sagrada Familia cooperative was in search of its first overseas clients. And, happily, Oxfam was on the lookout for new wine producers.
- A little factoid for you: the former directors of both organisations came up with the Lautaro brand name during one of their very first meetings. To this day, the fair-trade wines from Sagrada Familia still carry the name of the Chilean resistance hero who fought against the Spanish conquistadors.
- Oxfam supports these small-scale farmers in their fight for survival (info in Dutch) against the giants of the Chilean wine market. In addition to a vital revenue stream, we offer them alternative financing, advice in various areas of expertise, solidarity and a listening ear on the other side of the ocean.
- Sagrada Familia is Oxfam’s biggest supplier in terms of volume. In addition to the Lautaro wines, the cooperative also produces some of Oxfam Fair Trade’s quality table wines.
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